Justice League - 2017
Director(s): Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (*re-shoots)
Writer(s): Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (screenplay) / Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio (story)
Cinematography by: Fabian Wagner
Editor(s): David Brenner, Richard Pearson and Martin Walsh
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams and Jeremy Irons.
Synopsis: Batman and new-found ally, Wonder Woman, look to form a team that can stop the impending threat coming to earth.
I guess I should start my review with an unnecessary disclaimer. I grew up watching the Super Friends series on Cartoon Network and the Batman: The Animated series on the Fox Network. I have read all of Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb graphic novels to mention a few. Tim Burton blew my mind with his two Batman movies and Nolan delivered a great trilogy. I grew up loving DC and its superheroes and have been severely disappointed in the universe Zac Snyder has created. It’s grey, repetitive, dry, and they are incredibly in love with slow-motion technology. So, it was weird not being excited for the team up I dreamt of happening on the big screen for years. But after walking in with the lowest expectations possible, I must say I had way more fun than I expected.
While Zack Snyder is still billed as the main director, due to a family tragedy Joss Whedon was pulled in to help re-shoot a large portion of the movie. This still feels very much like a Snyder movie, but it can’t be denied that it has the light touch of Whedon’s humor and sensibilities. Unfortunately, this led to multiple scenes that stick out like a sore thumb due to green screens and tonal shifts woven in between the action set pieces. As to the action set pieces, Snyder gave us the best and coherent action sequences this DCEU has seen in its short existence. It’s still CGI heavy and there are some unnecessary slow-motions thrown in for the sake of it, but I never fully lost interest in the action like I did in Man of Steel and BvS.
Quick note: another aspect of the re-shoots that sticks out like a sore thumb is Henry Cavill’s upper-lip. During the re-shoots, he was rocking a mustache and they had to use CGI to erase the ‘stache from Superman. It’s super obvious.
The set-up of the team was a little clunky at best. It felt like the season finale of a series and they were giving you the “previously on” recap of the Justice League series. They set-up where Batman and Wonder Woman are after the events of BvS. They give you a quick backstory of Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman, and they introduce the big baddie Steppenwolf. Some worked better than others, with Flash being the best one and Aquaman being the most awkward as his backstory is yelled at him by another character after a fight scene. But once they are all together and acting like the team they are supposed to be, the movies showcases their powers and personalities in a fun and upbeat manner.
The acting is solid all around. I really enjoyed Ezra Miller’s performance as Barry Allen/The Flash. I was worried that I was too accustomed to CW’s Flash, but he gave him a new aspect and persona that I really enjoyed. Henry Cavill finally felt like Clark Kent/Superman, beaming hope to the world like Christopher Reeves used to do back in the 70s. Ben Affleck continues to be a good Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman has taken this role and completely made it her own. I wasn’t sold on Ray Fisher’s Cyborg as he was more machine than man, but that could change as he starts to become more comfortable with his new-found powers. Jason Momoa as Aquaman was ok, somewhat forgettable. But not as forgettable Steppenwolf was; it felt like the auto generated player a game would give you when you are creating your avatar.
Quick note: some of the CGI utilized in this movie is incredible, especially during the Flash sequences. But some of the CGI used in this film just makes your eyes hurt, especially most of Cyborg’s appearance.
Justice League was ultimately a good step in the right direction, being far better than its predecessors (outside of Wonder Woman). I know that is not a huge statement with the bar being set so low, but I honestly had a lot of fun watching this movie. It was fine and yes, I shouldn’t be walking away from my dream movie of superheroes with a fine feeling, but at this point I’ll take fine over BvS any day of the week. If they wouldn’t have had CGI’ed out the ‘stache of Cavill out that would’ve been my “why I love” ending. I guess Miller’s Flash is why I love movies.
Justice League is currently playing in theaters. The fun justifies the price of admission.
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